IFComp 2007: The Chinese Room   Leave a comment

Next up is the philosophical fantasy/educational game, The Chinese Room.

I should mention this is an at-the-2-hour-judging-mark review, because I get the impression it will be long after the competition is over before I finish.

In some of these pictures, hair appears not only to be defying gravity, but also the theory of evolution, the uncertainty principle, and the laws of thermodynamics 0 through 3 inclusive.

My first 20 minutes with the game were spent with an absolutely horrendous puzzle. It requires a completely unprompted verb, topped off with shoddy implementation.

>consult cards about poster
Just a load of random Chinese symbols

(Can you consult the cards about anything? And don’t even get me started on the chair bug.)

Erf. After I gave up and used the ‘tutorial’ (which includes the verb USE! if something in your game requires USE, it needs a rewrite) things got much better: open vistas, witty writing, dialogue menus with a healthy abundance of snark, and edifying footnotes in the form of the THINK ABOUT verb.

There’s plenty of puzzles, the more intriguing of them integrating the philosophical principles demonstrated in some fashion.

The implementation still is ragged in spots (you can use the hint item even when not nearby, for instance) but the game is much more promising than its first section indicates.

Posted October 30, 2007 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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